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The Voice Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

This is an interview with eliminated contestants Justin Grennan, Josh and Nicole Johnson, Angela Wolff and Tje Austin on May 11, 2011 about the show The Voice.

The Voice

Question:
Angela, you said when you got paired up with Javier that you were really excited to sing with him, but you also felt like he was the best singer in the whole competition. Were you nervous right from the start that you were going to get sent home?

Angela Wolff:
I was definitely worried. He's such an amazing talent. I mean, we all admire Javier. I think everyone would agree with me that he's just absolutely fantastic. So, I was just looking at the performance. I just wanted to enjoy being on stage with him and make it a great memory. But, you never know, I mean I always had that little feeling that there was a possibility something could happen where I could even surprise everyone or something could take a different twist. But, my gut feeling was that Javier had it all the way.

Question:
Tje, on the show you talked a little bit about employing a strategy that maybe you were holding back a little bit in rehearsal in the hopes of taking your opponent by surprise and the judges. Do you think a lot of the contestants are also sort of employing strategies?

Tje Austin:
You come into the game, you want to give your best performance possible. I already knew that Nakia was a strong singer and I'm kind of a mellow singer, so it's kind of like pairing Sade up against Janis Joplin. You know, you've got this mellow tone and this huge voice. So, I really wanted to see what his take was going to be on it. My whole goal was to get up on stage and do me, like sing a great song, I think we had a great duet, and I think I succeeded. You know, I got a lot of people in my corner, I did impress the judges, but they were definitely intrigued by his delivery.

Question:
Any of you could have won and a different song could have made any of you win. Is there a song that you wish you could have sung instead?

Justin Grennan:
Yeah, pretty much any song would have been better than that song. Something maybe other than rock, which was pretty much all I got during the competition. I'm more of a soul singer and I really didn't feel like I got to show that side. A Stevie Wonder song maybe Signed, Sealed, Delivered something with a little more soul really would have shown people that, "Damn dude can actually sing that stuff." So to be honest, quite frustrating, but I think I killed that song last night. I mean, I hadn't even really seen that performance yet and I was like, "Damn, that was pretty good for a guy who didn't know the song."

Question:
Tje, what would you say is the most important lesson you learned from the time you spent on the show?

Tje Austin:
I guess be myself. That's how I got on the show. They liked me because of how I sang. I learned a lot from all the other artists. I liked seeing where we all are in our careers. It was very inspiring. What I've taken from this show is how great we all were, where I want to be in five years what type of career I want to have, and I'm just glad that I made so many great friendships. Everybody is so freaking awesome. This is like the best experience I've ever had in my life.

Question:
Justin, can you talk about exactly how you found your stride with Baba O'Riley and what you did since you weren't familiar with it?

Justin Grennan:
I can pick songs up pretty quick and the melody on that song's pretty simple, so that was actually one of the nicer parts about that tune. I've listened to it a million times over a very, very short period of time in between receiving the song and actually performing it. That's kind of what I do. I just - if I really need to know a song I just kind of immerse myself in it and just listen and listen and listen and listen, and sing it a million times, sing as much as I can, and kind of put my stank on it and that's what I did.

Question:
Out of the contestants that are left who you are rooting for?

Josh Johnson:
Everybody's so incredibly talented. As far as uniqueness, we really love Bev and just her energy that she brings, and she's just a loving person and has such a great personality, and yeah, she just was everybody's friend on the show, and probably the most loving person we met.

Nicole Johnson:
Yeah.

Angela Wolff:
I think I love Bev too. She's so awesome. Beverly is amazing. And I think that, for me too though, I can't help it, I'm kind of pulling for Javier, because he's a friend of mine and we had a lot of fun performing together and I just think he's fantastic.

Tje Austin:
I love everybody. I love Frenchie. I love Javier. I'm such a big fan of Javier. I went fan boy a couple times after I met him. Sara Oromchi she's got such a great voice. Lily has a great voice. Casey Desmond is awesome. You know, it's such a hard question. They're all so great. Everybody's so great. And the four of us that are on this call right now, I feel like we're going to be doing some great things in the future. I feel like we're all awesome, so I'm still rooting for us.

Justin Grennan:
One of my better friends on the show is Jared Blake, and I'm really pulling for him, especially with his situation with his kids and I got to spend some time with him. The other contestants know this, but he is just a real grounded solid guy, and he's a kick in the butt. I have a feeling that Javier's going to take the whole shooting match, but you never know. There could be a dark horse somewhere that we haven't really heard everything from yet, but I got a feeling Javier will take it, but I'm still pulling for my boy Jared.

Question:
Josh and Nicole, how different was the whole experience of being on the show being that it's two of you and not just one of you?

Nicole Johnson:
It was very helpful to have each other to lean on, not that we didn't like make fabulous friends while we were there and everybody that was in the show is so supportive. And I honestly didn't feel like there was ever that negative competition underlining kind of thing going on. But, as far as having me and Josh be together it was really great. I think it really strengthened our marriage in a lot of ways.

Question:
What surprised you most about working with the judges?

Josh Johnson:
We were just blown away with the fact that Eric was so invested in the whole process. It's almost expected that they would come in and treat it like another paycheck, but they were totally there for us. They were there to help us. They were completely invested in the whole process and it wasn't just kind of clocking in and clocking out. We could tell that, it just was really refreshing.

Tje Austin:
I was so freaking excited to be on Cee Lo's team. It's amazing to be given this opportunity to work with someone of such amazing caliber. You know, I was constantly in awe. I mean, he's such a great artist, a great writer and I just wanted to take something away from that. It really helped motivate me. To be in the music industry, to make my own mark what type of career do I want to have? It was great when he said that he could see pieces of him in me and then to meet Monica. Man, she's beautiful. But just nobody else can say that they've had this experience that we've had to be around these artists. It was just very inspiring and it just pushes me to do so much.

Question:
During the entire performance with Javier, you were just gleaming, smiling ear-to-ear. Can you tell me a little bit about what you were thinking or what was going on in your head?

Angela Wolff:
It was just so much fun. It was such a fun song and it's a classic tune. Javier is amazing. It just felt really cool to be on that stage at that moment. I think because Javier has really been standing out along the way even from before the show even started, just from the commercials and the advertisements, he was already almost a favorite. It's like, he's just one of those guys. He's just so good. And so, I didn't have many nerves for that moment. I mean, I think after it was all over I think the nerves kind of rush in right when it was done, but I was just excited to be on the stage, and it was nothing like the blind auditions. It was a totally different feeling. It was just fun. And we had a lot of fun in rehearsals and everything. It was just cool. It was a fun performance.

Question:
How much time do you get to rehearse a song, and is it enough time to help maybe relieve some of the pressure?

Justin Grennan:
You don't really have a whole lot of time, less than 48 hours actually from the time you receive the song until the time you're performing it.

Angela Wolff:
We had enough time on certain levels because you're just focusing on a portion of the song. But, I think we all just wished we had more time with the band because most of us come from a background where we do play out live all the time, and so you kind of get your groove going with a group of musicians that helps you get through shows. But, that was my only thing. I wished we had more time with the band, but I think we had just enough time to pull it off because everyone sounded great, I thought. I was really impressed with you guys last night.

Question:
Josh and Nicole, since Blake said the song wasn't working for you guys can you both talk about what you did with Jared to make it work?

Josh Johnson:
I think instead of treating it like a battle we almost went into it as a trio performance. Well, I think changing the key a little bit so it kind of worked well for all us, just distributing the verses between all three of us. Unfortunately, Nicole's verse didn't air on the show last night, but it's on the recorded version, but we each got to sing a verse and we each got to lead a chorus. But, I guess that was mainly it, just a lot of going over the song together.

Nicole Johnson:
During that moment we were trying to figure out how we're going to make it work. The song is so different for all of us. It was equally a challenge for me Josh as it was for Jared, but we were all kind of figuring out to make it our own and make it individual and unique for each of us. And really pulling back and talking through it as a team, because honestly this is how Josh and I posed it with Jared from the get go is like we're not going to look at this as like, "Hey, we're going to come in smack you in the face with our vocals." It's like, "No, let's just do," just like what Josh said, a trio performance. And I think it really - I think we achieved that. o yeah, once we kind of talked about it we were like, "Hey, let's kind of go at this from the standpoint of like just being it's a (unintelligible) performance and let's not worry about anything else besides that."

Question:
Is it easier to walk away knowing that you got beat by somebody who's a great singer, rather than someone who just had a lucky night?

Angela Wolff:
I think it would be a lot easier like towards the end of the show. But, we were all just kind of getting started and I'm sure everyone wanted an opportunity to sing more songs and kind of reveal themselves a little more. Walking away on that level is hard, but I didn't really - I didn't have too much shame walking away from Javier. It was pretty - he's so good that for me it was kind of comforting, I guess, what you're saying. I think I understanding what you're asking. It is a little comforting that you lose out - if you lose out to someone like Javier. But, everyone's so great that a lot of people have different opinions. I mean it's pretty funny the feedback that they're getting from the show just because everyone has fans on the show, and there are a lot of people that have to walk away and their fans don't think they should, and so it goes both ways.

Tje Austin:
I think that getting eliminated from the Battle Round is probably the hardest round to get eliminated from, because you know we made it through the blind audition. Yay, America knows who we are. Yes, finally. For me it would be great to be eliminated by America's choice where they are picking me out of 16 people. It's very hard to get eliminated when I'm just up against one guy and I haven't even made it to the live round. It's just very frustrating to get eliminated, even if it's a great singer or either way. If it was a great singer or if someone just had a lucky night, it's just hard getting eliminated in the Battle Round when I feel that while Nakia is a great artist, he's a great - you know, great guy, great artist, I would love to know what America would have thought. So, for me that was the hardest part.

Justin Grennan:
I feel the same way as Tje. I feel like if it was left up to America with my battle, it would have been a very, very different outcome, but you know that's not how it was. It was definitely the hardest round to do because we're all friends.

Question:
What was it like going through the process of singing a duet, for those of you that are really accustomed to being a front man or singing solo to have to sort of share equal time and work out your harmonies or whatever with another person?

Tje Austin:Justin Grennan:
Yeah a lot of people like kind of in my circle they'll see me play or sing and whatever, and you know they're intimidated even if it's a female vocalist or a male vocalist. And we'll talk and I'll say, "Hey, well, we should do a duet sometime," and they're like, "Oh, no. I don't really want to do that." I love singing by myself, but I probably like singing duets better than I do singing solo because there's just an energy, a transfer of life, it seems, when you're singing with someone else. I mean, how perfect would it be to be in Elenowen's position? You know, to have your wife to sing harmonies with. God that would just be ridiculous.

So, I'm honestly very jealous of that because they already have a connection intimately, and then they have a connect musically, so I love that. I love singing duets. I mean, if every other gig I could have someone with me singing harmonies or I can sing harmonies for them, I mean that would just be, shoot, that'd be a kick in the head.

Tje Austin:
Yeah, I think Elenowen does it so well too. I'm sorry, this is just on a side note. I think it's so hard to be in a relationship with someone and be in the industry, because I feel like someone puts their career over their partner's career. You know, like they're focused on themselves. So, I think that what you guys do together and how you guys support each other, it's really awesome, so I really admire that from you guys.

Josh Johnson:
Thanks, Tje.

Nicole Johnson:
Oh, thanks, Tje.

Josh Johnson:
You guys are sweet.

Question:
Was there anything that surprised any of you when you were on the show?

Angela Wolff:
I was definitely surprised because I came back. Because they didn't ask me the first time and I was packing my bags and was completely sure that I was going home, so that was shocking when they brought a few of us back for second chances.

Nicole Johnson:
I was pleasantly surprised when I saw Reba walk out that day. I think we got there was going to be an advisor. But, definitely pleasantly surprised to see Reba McIntyre walking out towards me, and she just was awesome to work with, so that was a great surprise.

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